Online recipes save students time and money

The kitchen smells like garlic and marinara as the pasta cooks and the zucchini bread bakes. For the first time in a while, the kitchen is warm and feels like home. “Mmm,” junior Kelsey Maganaris says, “What’s for dinner?” 

As college students, finding the time and money to sit down and make a hot meal is difficult. But despite that, so many students still follow the popular pages “Delish” and “Tasty” on social media. However, in about an hour and half, students whipped up dinner and dessert, all inspired from popular social media pages and food blogs.

What was for dinner? Creamy penne rosa and cheesy zucchini bread with Oreo truffles for dessert. All three videos promised to be easy, quick, and inexpensive – three things most college students have a hard time turning down. 

Starting with dessert, the three ingredient truffles were incredibly easy to put together and then freeze while making dinner. While the cream cheese was softening, they crushed up the Oreos to fine crumbs. Once mixed together, they made them into little balls and put them in the freezer. These truffles aren’t the healthiest dessert, but certainly something every stressed-out student needs to indulge in.

Once the truffles were resting in the freezer, the zucchini bread was next. This zucchini bread was an alternative to cheesy-garlic bread and was healthier while still tasting amazing. Bread is such an easy carb to eat; baked zucchini is just as good without the guilt of devouring a loaf of bread. 

This recipe was a little strange to make because it involved squeezing the water out of shredded zucchinis, which was certainly a weird experience. The recipe also called to bake it on parchment paper, but the high oven temperature of 425 degrees and long baking time of 30 minutes made the paper crisp and difficult to peel off, even with cooking spray. Instead, students should modify it to just a sprayed baking sheet.

With the zucchini bread in the oven, it was time to make the main dish: penne rosa. This pasta was a quick and easy dish to put together. Pasta is a nice dish to make that feeds a lot of people – and most students have a guilty love for pasta.

Like most pasta dishes, it is not the healthiest thing to eat every day; but this pasta had a lot of healthy alternative ingredients rather than a lot of cream and butter. The recipe included garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach, all cooking in a marinara and greek yogurt sauce. While this pasta was very tasty, it was also lacking something. A nice modification to this recipe would be to add some onion in the sauce with the garlic. 

Finally, while the bread was finishing up and the pasta was simmering, there was just enough time to finish the truffles. Removing them from the freezer, they dipped them  in melted white chocolate and garnished them with Oreo crumbs on top. 

The video made this step seem much easier (and cleaner!) than it really was. Not only was it messy, but melting chocolate is always a nightmare. It is very easy to burn chocolate and hard to keep it soft long enough to dip all the truffles. As well as being difficult and messy, it was an unnecessary addition. The Oreo truffles could certainly just be a two-ingredient dessert and still be very tasty and just slightly better for you without the outer shell of white chocolate. 

Ultimately, these videos and recipes were quick and mostly easy. There were some modifications that one should make, but most of their promises were kept. They yielded enough food to feed four to six people, or to feed one person for a few days. Taking an hour and a half one day a week and saving leftovers is really useful when you’re a busy student. 

All together, everything cost under $40 and there were still unused products like leftover mushrooms, spinach and cheese which students can whip together for an easy dish like salads, quesadillas, or even more pasta.